As with any medical test, mammograms have dangers. These dangers include:
They are only part of a complete breast exam. Your doctor also should do a clinical breast exam. If your mammogram finds something abnormal, your doctor will order other tests.
"False negatives" can happen. This means everything may look normal, but cancer is actually present. False negatives don't happen often. Younger women are more likely to have a false negative mammogram than are older women. This is because the breast tissue is denser, making cancer harder to spot.
"False positives" can happen. This is when the mammogram results look like cancer is present, even though it is not. False positives are more common in younger women than older women.
What Is A Mammogram?
A mammogram is a specific imaging test that uses a low-dose x-ray system for examination of the breasts. The images of the breasts can be viewed on film at a view box. Most medical experts agree that successful treatment of breast cancer often is linked to early detection. A mammogram can detect changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician.